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ON LITERATURE

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 12/15/2016 |


“Literature is always personal, always one man's vision of the world, one man's experience, and it can only be popular when men are ready to welcome the visions of others.”
― W.B. Yeats

“Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.”
Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

“The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.”
T.S. Eliot

“All I am is literature, and I am not able or willing to be anything else.”
Franz Kafka

“The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.”
Gustave Flaubert

“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”
C.S. Lewis

“In great literature, I become a thousand different men but still remain myself.”
C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

“Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality.”
C.S. Lewis

Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart.
Salman Rushdie (1948-?) Anglo-Indian novelist.

The liveliness of literature lies in its exceptionality, in being the individual, idiosyncratic vision of one human being, in which, to our delight and great surprise, we may find our own vision reflected.
Salman Rushdie (1948-?) Anglo-Indian novelist.

All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.
Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961) American Writer.

“Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man that can not read them.
Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer.

“Sometimes I sensed that the books I read in rapid succession had set up some sort of murmur among themselves, transforming my head into an orchestra pit where different musical instruments sounded out, and I would realize that I could endure this life because of these musicales going on in my head.”
Orhan Pamuk, The New Life

The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) American author and poet

“Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.”
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

“I had found my religion: nothing seemed more important to me than a book. I saw the library as a temple.”
Jean-Paul Sartre, The Words

“What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.”
E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy

“That's why literature is so fascinating. It's always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different people. It's never the same thing twice.”
Sara Raasch, Snow Like Ashes

I cannot live without books.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third president of the United States.

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, and dramatist.

There is creative reading as well as creative writing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.

Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist and philosopher.

Books are divided into two classes, the books of the hour and the books of all time.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) English art critic.

The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet and dramatist.

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.
Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961) American Writer.

A good novel tells us the truth about it's hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) British journalist, novelist and poet.

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French poet, dramatist and novelist.

A book worth reading is worth buying.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) English art critic.

Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window.
William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist and short-story writer.

Books, like friends, should be few and well chosen. Like friends, too, we should return to them again and again for, like true friends, they will never fail us, never cease to instruct, never cloy.
Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) British clergyman, sportsman and author.

Be a little careful about your library. Do you foresee what you will do with it? Very little to be sure. But the real question is, What it will do with you? You will come here and get books that will open your eyes, and your ears, and your curiosity, and turn you inside out or outside in.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.

A room without books is like a body without a soul.
Marcus Tulius Cicero (106-43 BC) Writer, politician and great roman orator.

When the book comes out it may hurt you -- but in order for me to do it, it had to hurt me first. I can only tell you about yourself as much as I can face about myself.
James Baldwin (1924-1987) African-American writer.

'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem to be confidences or sides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profound thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.

Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American politician.

When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before.
Clifton Fadiman (1904-1999) American editor and writer.


No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
Robert Frost (1875-1963) American Poet.

Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else's head instead of with one's own.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher.

There are people who read too much: bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) American journalist, satirist and social critic.

All the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.
Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer and historian.

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American naturalist, poet and philosopher.

Read in order to live.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) French novelist.

Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, ''Lighthouses'' as the poet said ''erected in the sea of time.'' They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind, Books are humanity in print.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher.

You should read books like you take medicine, by advice, and not by advertisement.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) English art critic.

To use books rightly, is to go to them for help; to appeal to them when our own knowledge and power fail; to be led by them into wider sight and purer conception than our own, and to receive from them the united sentence of the judges and councils of all time, against our solitary and unstable opinions.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) English art critic.

Much reading is an oppression of the mind, and extinguishes the natural candle, which is the reason of so many senseless scholars in the world.
William Penn (1644-1718) British religious leader.

To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.
Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962) French philosopher and poet.

The reading or non-reading a book will never keep down a single petticoat.
Lord Byron (1788-1824) British poet.
Some books are to be tasted; others to be swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) British statesman and philosopher.

In science read the newest works, in literature read the oldest.
Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) British politician, poet and critic.

Never read any book that is not a year old.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.

Next to acquiring good friends, the best acquisition is that of good books.
Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) British clergyman, sportsman and author.

We are too civil to books. For a few golden sentences we will turn over and actually read a volume of four or five hundred pages.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.

Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) British statesman.


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